New York is among the most dynamic food scenes in the world. I couldn’t hope to keep up with it, even if I tried. And trust me, I’m not trying. That said, I used to live there, I often travel there and I still love to eat there. One clever lie that New Yorkers tend to heap onto unsuspecting tourists is that there is no end to the good food in New York City, that you can walk into almost any restaurant and the forces that conspire to make New York “the greatest city in the world,” co-conspire to ensure that any restaurant you enter will serve you very good food. That’s bullshit.
The status of spice knowledge in the Western world has been entirely flabbergasting. The fact that no one in the West—in print or in person—has yet provided anyone else with so much as a theoretical framework around which to base a rigorous spice blending technique is shameful. It is, after all, not just important which spices you add to a dish, but also in what proportions. To date, everything where spices are concerned is entirely ad hoc; literally, chefs standing around, tasting their dishes and thinking, “I guess this could use a bit of clove.” I’ve searched and there is literally not much more available than lone chefs guided by vague tradition and his or her own subjective taste.